will your next toilet keep you flushed with satisfaction?

by Ron Rothenberg, 4 Buyers Real Estate

I’ve been potty-talking lately as I’ve asked all the plumbers, contractors, home inspectors I meet about toilets. I talked to many neighbors about this topic, too, and found that more interest swirled around this subject than I would have imagined.

I was interested because we were replacing our tenants’ bathroom and our bathroom and were trying to get a handle on the bewildering array of toilet styles, valves, capacities and ratings.

I did find that most people are pleased with their newer toilets even if they were badly disappointed with their first generation low-flow toilets. If you have to flush your high-efficiency toilet twice each time, it’s no longer a high-efficiency toilet.

The good news is: Green toilets HAVE gotten a lot better.

The choices became clearer when I found that there was an almost unanimous consensus that the best toilets are made by a Japanese maker, Toto toilet.

Toto has the patent on an ingenious flush valve that flushes the water cyclonically, giving you both a good flush and keeping the walls of the bowl cleaner longer, even with toilets so water-efficient they only use 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf). Other toilet makers will soon be licensing their patent, but for now the best flush award belongs totally to Toto. Watch it flush once and you’ll be bowled over by the difference.

You will not find them at Home Depot or Lowe’s. You will find them at local and regional plumbing supply stores. We shopped at the showroom at Republic Plumbing Supply in Framingham has the whole line.

Toto doesn’t make much in the way of dual-flush toilets, but they do have a few good 1.28gpf toilets and the water use on that commode should be about the same as a 1.6gpf toilet with a dual-flush valve.

For our tenants’ unit, we got a Kohler Scout model from Home Depot. It’s not bad, and they claim it can flush a whole bucket of golf balls at one time. I’m hoping no one in my house will ever think of testing that claim, but I have since learned there is more to flushing than just the ability to flush bulky things.

The flush ratings of toilets aren’t as wonderfully useful as they sound, unless you regularly flush golf balls down the toilet. They are based solely on the amount of bulk a toilet can flush.

There are other things to consider, such as how clean the inside walls of the bowl will stay without additional cleaning.

When we put in a new bathroom last summer, we didn’t replace the 12 year-old toilet in our bathroom because we couldn’t find exactly the toilet of our dreams: a dual-flush with cyclonic flushing, etc., so we reused the old toilet, retrofitted for dual-flush, and it’s still a fine flusher.

As soon as toilet technology catches up with my desires and there’s a 1.28gpf, dual-flush, cyclonic toilet, I’ll be the first in line at the store to buy that commodious commode.